Eye for an eye justice ruling

TEHRAN - Iran's supreme court has upheld a sentence of blinding in one eye for a waiter who hurled acid at a man five years ago in a plot hatched by the victim's brother-in-law, the Shargh newspaper reported

The 26-year-old waiter, identified by his first name Mohammad, had confessed he was hired to throw acid at the victim, Vali, in return for around one million rials (less than R800), the report said.

Vali, who was injured and blinded in one eye, asked for qesas - an eye for an eye style of justice - and that Mohammad be blinded in retribution.

After much deliberation, the panel of judges presiding the case ordered the attacker to be blinded without acid in one eye and pay blood money for Vali's other injuries, the report said.

The Islamic sharia code in force in Iran provides for retributive justice, most commonly for murder or for those convicted of causing intentional physical injury.

Several acid attacks have been reported in Iran in recent years, with the courts handing two attackers who had blinded their victims the qesas sentence last year.

The latest verdict comes nearly two months after a female victim of an acid attack, Ameneh Bahrami, forgave her assailant at the 11th-hour after years of pushing for his qesas.

In December last year, the supreme court upheld another sentence to blinding handed down against a man convicted of an acid attack against his wife's lover that deprived him of his sight.

There has been no reported confirmation of it ever being carried out.

Amnesty International had criticised the sentencing in Bahrami's case, saying it highlighted the need for legal reforms in Iran as the "cruel punishment which amounts to torture (is) prohibited under international law".

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